- The Dream of Gerontius, oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 38 - Edward Elgar - Vladimir Ashkenazy - Cyrus Meher-Homji - Lilli Paasikivi - Robert Patterson - Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Mark Tucker - David Wilson-Johnson - Martin Buzacott - John Henry Newman - Sydney Philharmonic Choir - Tso Chorus
- Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 - Edward Elgar - Vladimir Ashkenazy - Cyrus Meher-Homji - Robert Patterson - Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Jian Wang - Martin Buzacott
Vladimir Ashkenazy's recordings of the music of Edward Elgar are noteworthy achievements, if a late development in his career, and his performances with the Sydney Symphony on the audiophile label Exton are impressive showcases for their extraordinary sound and virtuosity: the two symphonies, the "Enigma Variations," and the "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" have been treated with extraordinary brilliance and sympathy. This twofer from Decca, released in 2011 in conjunction with ABC Classics, presents more of Ashkenazy's explorations of Elgar's oeuvre with passionate readings of the "Cello Concerto in E minor," featuring Jian Wang as soloist, and "The Dream of Gerontius," the work the composer regarded as his finest accomplishment. While Decca's conventional CDs are hardly a match for Exton's superb SACDs, there is little to complain about in terms of reproduction here, because the cello is given a clear central placement, the orchestra is captured in the finest details, and the vocalists and chorus in "Gerontius" are recorded with ample room and resonance to give them clarity and natural presence. The live performances date from 2008, and the care taken in suppressing audience noises makes them almost as polished sounding as studio recordings.